Dewani loses extradition appeal bid

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IOL shrien dewani afp jan 31 AFP Shrien Dewani continues to fight extradition to South Africa where he is accused of the killing of his wife, Anni, in Cape Town in November, 2010.

Johannesburg - Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani lost his latest legal battle to block extradition to South Africa on Monday, the British Press Association reported.

Dewani, 33, from Bristol, argued that he should not be forced from the United Kingdom to face trial over wife Anni's death until he has recovered from mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A panel of judges, headed by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, ruled in January that it would not be "unjust and oppressive" to extradite him if an undertaking was given by the South African government relating to how long he would be kept in the country without trial if his illness continues.

The South African authorities had given the necessary assurances, but Dewani's lawyers returned to London's High Court today to challenge the undertaking before Lord Thomas, sitting with Justice Ouseley and Justice Blake.

They also asked for permission to take the case of the millionaire businessman, who is compulsorily detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act, to the Supreme Court, the UK's highest court.

But the judges rejected complaints made about the adequacy of the undertaking and also refused to give the go-ahead for the case to go to the Supreme Court.

Dewani is accused of ordering the killing of 28-year-old Anni, who was shot as the couple travelled in a taxi on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010.

An 11th hour bid to gain more time to continue the fight against extradition was rejected by the court.

An application was made to the judges to delay immediately triggering the 28-day period in which the law now requires Dewani to be extradited.

Mark Summers, appearing for Dewani, argued that the delay was necessary because there was a possibility of medical experts producing fresh evidence to indicate that Dewani's condition was "chronic - incapable of being treated", arguably making him ineligible for extradition.

Summers applied to the judges to delay formally "pronouncing" their decision for 14 days so that the 28-day period for extradition would not begin to run immediately.

He said the move was necessary to give the doctors additional time to produce new medical reports that could lead to a reopening of the case.

Refusing the application, Lord Thomas said: "The provisions of the Extradition Act are designed to ensure extradition is a speedy process.

"I therefore pronounce today. Any period that is applicable under the relevant legislation will run from today."

After the ruling, Anni's father Vinod Hindocha said outside the Royal Courts of Justice: "We are quite happy with the decision and we hope to get the answers that we have been seeking for the past three and a half years.

"I really don't know what happened to my daughter. We need answers. We hope to get justice."

He said the lengthy legal process had been "torture" for the family.

 

Sapa



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